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12-Volt conversion

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  • Electrical: 12-Volt conversion

    I know it's just a matter of time before I convert my '51 Champion to a 12-volt electrical system. I live in California farm country near the Sierra foothills and it can get very dark here when you leave town and I really would appreciate brighter headlights. I did this conversion years ago when I put a small-block Chevy V8 in a '52 Chevy and the resistor used to supply 6-volts to the heater motors, wipers and gauges was a piece of ceramic with an exposed coil of resistance wire mounted on it. I figure that has probably been improved upon about a hundred times by now.

    What are the current best choices for a six-volt resistor? I also assume there are lots of club members who have done this switch fairly recently. I'd sure like to hear any suggestions and warnings anyone might offer. My car's stock wiring is still fairly good considering its age; not like new of course, but not the kind that scares you when you look at it. I've gotten replacement wiring harnesses from the Rhode Island folks before for other vehicles. Are they the recommended source if I decided to change the wiring, or are there other good choices. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  • #2
    You'll find all what you need at Randy Rundle's fifth avenue garage: http://www.fifthaveinternetgarage.co...arts.php#runtz
    Nice day to all.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Before you go to all that bother, pop in a fresh pair of sealed beams, and make certain that your regulator is adjusted to supply 7.2-7.4 volts. Perhaps clean the connections at the junction blocks on the inner fenders. Even sealed beams lose efficiency with time. I did the above when I put my 50 on the road a few years ago and the headlights are quite good.

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      • #4
        check they may be making 6 volt LED's now.

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        • #5
          I have a barely used 12v alternator from Fifth Ave that I removed from my 51 Commander. I’m converting back to all stock 6V. Previous owner did the 12v conversion. Price dramatically less than supplier.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tim333 View Post
            I have a barely used 12v alternator from Fifth Ave that I removed from my 51 Commander. I’m converting back to all stock 6V. Previous owner did the 12v conversion. Price dramatically less than supplier.
            PM sent to you, Tim.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975

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            • #7
              Amazon has Has 12 to 6 volt reducers. Some with 15 amp capacity. They also have 3 and 6 amp units that are very reasonable.

              Seymour

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              • #8
                Correction-
                These are for NEGATIVE GROUND
                Originally posted by JohnMSeymour View Post
                Amazon has Has 12 to 6 volt reducers. Some with 15 amp capacity. They also have 3 and 6 amp units that are very reasonable.

                Seymour

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                • #9
                  Another correction-

                  The vendor says they will work with positive ground.
                  Originally posted by JohnMSeymour View Post
                  Correction-
                  These are for NEGATIVE GROUND

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                  • #10
                    I agree with Ross in #3. My stock 1950 Commander that I bought in 1969 could light up the Texas desert better than any car I've owner.

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                    • #11
                      You can get E-code halogen lamps in six volt. I used them in VW's back in the day. You can find some on eBay.
                      Gord Richmond, within Weasel range of the Alberta Badlands

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                      • #12
                        Twelve VDC or not.

                        Converting my 1950 Champion to 12 VDC has always been on the "do list" but to date I've settled for a 6 volt alternator that has actually worked quite well. My headlights are bright and the turn signals keep clicking even at idle. The recent addition of a pair of NOS clear fog lights also adds a lot of front illumination when needed. I notice that since the alternator continues to charge even at idle my battery stays more fully charged. The only advantage I can see now to concert would be the ability to run 12 VDC accessories and I see there are converters to handle that issue.


                        Originally posted by dstude View Post
                        I know it's just a matter of time before I convert my '51 Champion to a 12-volt electrical system. I live in California farm country near the Sierra foothills and it can get very dark here when you leave town and I really would appreciate brighter headlights. I did this conversion years ago when I put a small-block Chevy V8 in a '52 Chevy and the resistor used to supply 6-volts to the heater motors, wipers and gauges was a piece of ceramic with an exposed coil of resistance wire mounted on it. I figure that has probably been improved upon about a hundred times by now.

                        What are the current best choices for a six-volt resistor? I also assume there are lots of club members who have done this switch fairly recently. I'd sure like to hear any suggestions and warnings anyone might offer. My car's stock wiring is still fairly good considering its age; not like new of course, but not the kind that scares you when you look at it. I've gotten replacement wiring harnesses from the Rhode Island folks before for other vehicles. Are they the recommended source if I decided to change the wiring, or are there other good choices. Thanks for any help you can offer.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          6-12 volt conversion
                          Generally, you do not have to replace switches when going from 6V to 12V. You will most likely have to rewire the floor starter switch internally or replace it. How/if you can use the floor starter switch depends more on what your starter solenoid looks like. Some take a ground on the little stud to energize and some take 12 volts on one of the little studs to energize. I don't remember which is which, but the change in how to energize the solenoid came at the same time as the switch from 6 to 12 volts.

                          As a rough rule of thumb, the things that MUST be changed in converting from 6V to 12V are:
                          -light bulbs - all of them
                          -fuses
                          -motors
                          -solenoids - all of them
                          -relays - all of them
                          -battery
                          -Generator/alternator
                          -voltage regulator
                          -radio
                          -ignition coil
                          -regulator added to 6 Volt gauge

                          Things that do NOT need to be changed are:
                          -switches, including overdrive governor
                          -wires/wiring (If the old wires are good)
                          -distributor points
                          -spark plugs
                          -spark plug wires - if they are good

                          Things that are being debated, or upon which there is not common agreement:
                          -starter motor
                          -distributor condenser
                          -horns
                          -clock


                          As another general rule of thumb, most voltage reducing devices get hot and do not deliver the quality and exactness/regulation that the device (fan, radio ) needs to operate properly. In most cases, not all, the voltage reducing devices will not work satisfactorily. It is best not to put your hopes in them.
                          RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                          17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                          10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                          10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                          4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                          5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                          56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                          60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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                          • #14
                            When I changed my '54 Chevy to 12 volts, all I changed was the bulbs, coil and wiper motor (it came from a '55, bolted up in 2 minutes). Also replaced the generator with an internal regulator type 1975 GM alternator. I used a small regulator on the back of the fuel gauge, and one of those big old resistors on the tube type radio. That was in '89 and it still works fine.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              What about that rare time that you might need a jump start? Chances of finding someone with a 6-volt battery would seem slim so you might have to accept one from a 12-volt source. Assuming no accessories or lights are turned on, wouldn't at least the dashboard gauges get fried as soon as you turned the ignition key and let the 12-volts flow into the wiring harness? That has alway been one of my main concerns. Is it valid?

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